Is Ombucha Kombucha a Beer or Lager?

One of the most curious questions we get asked by many people is whether kombucha is a beer or lager, and what sort of consequences that it may carry if so. Today, we’re going to answer this truthfully.

The Origin of the Question

If you cast your mind back to the kombucha fermentation process, you’ll remember that kombucha is crafted by adding a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to tea. Because the yeasts in the SCOBY consume sugar, it produces ethanol (alcohol) as a byproduct in addition to carbon dioxide (what makes your Kombucha naturally effervescent).

With kombucha, the bacteria then in turn consumes the ethanol which produces an abundance of healthy organic acids with innumerable benefits, such as gluconic acids and acetic. You can read about why kombucha is so good for your gut and your health here – Why is OMBucha Kombucha so good for me?

The take-home message from this is that ethanol production is a natural byproduct of fermentation.

So it contains alcohol?

In theory, yes. However, it must be stated that there are only trace amounts of ethanol in kombucha, despite varying slightly from brew-to-brew. The amount of alcohol in Kombucha is so low, it does not need to be declared on the label, is Halal, and is similar in levels that you would find in vinegar and bread. It’s a fascinating subject, and you can read more about the low levels of alcohol here, which are definitely not inebriating.

Does the alcohol content negate the health benefits of drinking kombucha?

Definitely not!

One of the beauties of kombucha is that the yeast and bacteria present during fermentation work in harmony, so as the yeast produces ethanol, the bacteria works simultaneously to convert it to the healthy acids found in the end product.

Unlike alcohol, which is fermented with the goal of driving ethanol content, kombucha is self-limiting and therefore yields an extremely low proportion of alcohol in the final bottled product.

Can you get drunk with kombucha?

Despite slight variation from each batch of kombucha crafted at OMBucha (as with any naturally fermented product), it’s likely that the final yield remains under 0.5% ABV per bottle.

To become intoxicated from this amount, it’s fair to say you’d need to consume a very, very, very high quantity of our homemade ‘booch! The time taken to drink that volume of liquid, makes it impractical, and probably impossible for most people to stomach to be truthful.

Despite this, we have had some reports from people claiming to feel a slight ‘buzz’ when consuming kombucha, although this may be a placebo effect, it is most likely caused by the refreshing and revitalising taste and healthy vitality awarded by this amazing elixir that has been consumed for thousands of years!